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Discuss about tablut game or find new opponents.

There is a fellowship dedicated to tablut, its called tablut reborn and can be found here;

for all paying members of BrianKing.

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5. August 2004, 00:30:27
Hi frs. Black doesn't have to physically block the other side of the throne do gain a win that way. If the king is surrounded on three sides, with the throne on the fourth, it is a win for black. Even if there is an opening on the other side of the throne.

6. August 2004, 01:28:46
Do you know that for sure, harley? It doesn't seem right to me. Why can't the king escape over the throne? I've always played to block that route.

6. August 2004, 06:03:23
Emne: Bumble
The situation has arisen in several of my games and the capture works as Harley said.

6. August 2004, 16:06:41
Oh well - it goes a long way to explaining my crummy rating!

6. August 2004, 17:46:24
You still need to cover that as an exit, Bumble. The king can still pass over the throne if they're not surrounded!

7. August 2004, 03:33:19
The reason, I guess, is that if it were not so, the King could position itself next to the centre square and never be captured, even if it couldn't escape that way as the requirement is to place pieces on all 4 sides.

7. August 2004, 03:37:55
There is rule 10 that's not normally included. Snigfarp is a tablut scholar, perhaps he'll give his view.

7. August 2004, 16:44:59
Emne: Capture against the throne
I can confirm that Linnaeus's rules allow the king beside his throne to be captured on the remaining 3 sides, without regard to what stands on the opposite side of the throne [Law 11]. Law 10 is an oddity: with the king on e5 and attackers on d5/e6/f5, a defender on e4 can be captured by moving an attacker to e3.

8. August 2004, 13:09:20
Emne: Re: Capture against the throne
I seem to have missed something ... where are the laws (rules) numbered such as are refered to by Ughaibu and Snigfarp?

8. August 2004, 13:13:01
The rules as recorded by Linne in his diary.

8. August 2004, 13:15:46
Do you have a link?

8. August 2004, 13:21:55
I dont remember if complete rules are on the internet, I dont think so as rule 10 was new to me. Snigfarp looked up a translation from 1811 in the British Library.

9. August 2004, 22:12:36
Emne: Linnaeus Laws
At some point soon I'll be happy to post the laws here (they're well out of copyright). But Linnaeus used a strange notation which he illustrated in his diary: I'll have to convert the notation to the familiar grid references before I post, otherwise some of the laws won't make sense.

12. August 2004, 02:33:42
Pawn Reaper 
Emne: Tablut
Can anyone here give me a pronunciation? I have been referring to it as "Tabloo".

12. August 2004, 11:27:10
Pawn Reaper, I asked that same question when I started playing. I believe it vaies from country to country. Some pople put a hard 't' on the end, "tab-luT", similar to tablet, and others (like myself) pronounce it the same as you, "tab-loo". As far as I know there is no definite pronunciation, but I could be wrong!

12. August 2004, 11:44:57
It's pronounced with the "t", tablut being the noun form of "dabloo", a verb meaning "to play board games". I think the Sami used dabloo but tablut has become the accepted form. I may have reversed the noun/verb relationship but I can look it up if anyone's in danger of losing sleep over the matter.

15. August 2004, 09:39:55
Emne: Linnaeus Laws
As promised on 9th August:

From "Lachesis Lapponica", Linnaeus ed. Smith, 1811, vol. ii. pp. 55-58. [My notes are in square brackets. Linnaeus's unusual notation has been converted to the standard we all know.]

The game called TABLUT is played with a checkered board, and twenty-five pieces, or men, in the following manner. [There follows a diagram of the board, and diagrams of the three types of piece.]

Fig. 1. is the king, whose station is in the central square or royal castle, called KONOKIS by the Laplanders, to which no other person can be admitted.

Fig. 2. represents one of the eight Swedes his subjects, who, at the commencement of the game, are stationed in the eight squares, adjoining to the royal castle. [The squares c5, d5, e3, e4, e6, e7, f5, and g5 are marked on the diagram.]

Fig. 3. is one of the sixteen Muscovites, their adversaries, who occupy the sixteen embroidered squares, situated four together in the middle of each side of the field. [The embroidered squares in the diagram correspond to the familiar attacker's positions.]

The vacant squares may be occupied by any of the pieces in the course of the game.


1. Any piece may move from one square to another in a right line, as from d4 to d2, but not corner-wise, or from d4 to c3.

2. It is not allowed to pass over the heads of any other pieces that may be in the way, or to move, for instance, from c4 to c1, in case any were stationed at c3 or c2.

3. If the king should stand in c4, and no other pieces in c3, c2 or c1, he may escape by that road, unless one of the Muscovites immediately gets possesion of one of the squares in question, so as to interrupt him.

4. If the king be able to accomplish this, the contest is at an end.

5. If the king happens to be in c3, and none of his own people or his enemies either in b3, a3, c2 or c1, his exit cannot be prevented.

6. Whenever the person who moves the king perceives that a passage is free, he must call out RAICHI, and if there be two ways open, TUICHU.

7. It is allowable to move ever so far at once, in a right line, if the squares in the way be vacant, as from b4 to b1.

8. The Swedes and the Muscovites take it by turns to move.

9. If any one man gets between two squares occupied by his enemies, he is killed and taken off, except the king, who is not liable to this misfortune.

10. If the king, being in his own square or castle [e5], is encompassed on three sides by his enemies, one of them standing in each of the adjacent squares [e.g. d5, e4 and f5], he may move away by the fourth [e.g. e6]. If one of his own people happens to be in this fourth square, and one of his enemies is in e7 next to it, the soldier thus enclosed between his king and the enemy is killed. If four of the enemy gain position of the four squares adjacent to the castle, thus enclosing the king, he becomes their prisoner.

11. If the king be in e4, with an enemy in each of the adjoining squares d4, f4 and e3, he is likewise taken.

12. Whenever the king is thus taken or imprisoned, the war is over, and the conqueror seizes all the Swedes, the conquered party resigning all the Muscovites that he had taken.

18. Oktober 2004, 11:01:49
Emne: Fencer
In game 483565 why has black not been declared the winner? The game was finished on move 13.

18. Oktober 2004, 14:27:05
A bug, probably.

24. Oktober 2004, 23:00:14
Emne: Linnaeus
9. If any one man gets between two squares occupied by his enemies, he is killed and taken off, except the king, who is not liable to this misfortune.

This rule is not implemented here ... :-)

25. Oktober 2004, 21:21:46
Emne: Re: Linnaeus
I think Linnaeus might well have thought of it in chess terms. The king is never taken off the board; the game ends when he's captured. There's also the technicality that four men are needed to capture him.

27. Oktober 2004, 11:55:51
I suspect that Long is pointing out that the rules could be read to mean that a piece is killed by "suicide" if it moves to between two opposing pieces(?)

28. Oktober 2004, 06:46:03
That's how I interpret it: It just says "If any one man gets between..." and doesn't say how it gets between (ie: with that player's move or his/her opponent's move).

28. Oktober 2004, 11:16:17
Emne: Capture rule
I think that's nothing more than a quaint way of expressing things in Georgian English. If it were to be read as if it were current English, then the ONLY way for a man to be taken is to deliberately move between two others. I'd have trouble believing that that was the case. Unfortunately I've never been able to get access to a copy of the original Swedish, and I wouldn't understand it if I saw it. It might well be that some of these ambiguities appeared with the translation.

7. November 2004, 21:38:50
Emne: Re: Capture rule
Like ughaibu, that's what came to my mind when I first read the rule but I never saw it implemented anywhere (let alone here) ...
A very good point snigfarp, it could very well be that we are reading Georgian English in today English ...

9. November 2004, 18:44:53
Emne: Linneus Lapland journey
I will try to find the swedish original and see what it says about the rules. I didn´t know this was the only detailed source to this truly fascinating game. Since most information seems to be second handed, I will see if this brings any clarification.

9. November 2004, 18:52:57
Emne: White/black balance
When I bought a board with pieces made in Sweden a few years ago, the included rules stated that white wins if the King reaches a corner square. That rule should make the win ratio more equal, I suppose.

9. November 2004, 21:08:27
Emne: Hasurami
Please send me an internal message.

10. November 2004, 11:27:00
Emne: Re: White/black balance
Allowing the king to win only by reaching a corner square actually seems to make the game unbalanced in favour of the attackers. Only twelve pieces are needed to completely seal off the corners. With another three pieces left the attacker can create a line to sweep across the board, gradually constricting the king's forces. There appears to be no way out of this for the king.

10. November 2004, 18:21:24
Emne: Snigfarp
By "attacker" I take it you follow the convention and indicate black. Tafl game boards of differing sizes probably had various rules concerning, for example, escape squares. If you consider the percentage of occupied space against the number of squares available in the context of reducing pieces, it's clear that the several tafl games would'nt share all their rules.

10. November 2004, 23:12:00
You'd only need 4 pieces to seal off the corners - one in each corner. They also can't be captured once in a corner, so the only way white would have a chance would be to limit black to those four pieces and force one of them to move.

11. November 2004, 04:50:06
Kevin: in those variants only the king can enter a corner, so eight pieces is the minimum to block all corners.

11. November 2004, 10:35:47
Emne: Other variants: sealing the corners
Given that some variants reverse the colours of the pieces, or even use colours like silver and gold, I tend to use the term "attackers" for those attempting to capture the king, and "defenders" for those who try to stop aid his escape.

The reason I say twelve pieces is that the corner squares are often used as "hostile squares" for capturing, so eight pieces standing adjacent to them would be vulnerable for attacking. With twelve pieces, though, you could have a formation of pieces in squares A3, B2, C1 and the corresponding squares in the other corners. These would be invulnerable.

11. November 2004, 10:39:48
Okay, I see what you mean.

12. November 2004, 15:25:44
<but if only the king can enter the corner, how could horizontally and vertically adjacent pieces to a corner ever be captured, if nothing could get on one side to surround them? Wouldn't just 8 be enough then>?

12. November 2004, 15:54:46
No, as in these variants, the corners act as if there was a piece of the currently moving player sat upon them, so you can capture a piece by surrounding it between one of your own pieces and a corner square. There is evidence that, on some boards (the alea evangelii 19x19 board), there were fixed men attached to the corner squares. In others (like the Ballinderry 7x7 board) the corners had more subtle markings on them.

14. November 2004, 08:21:36
Ah, I see your point. I found this article about Tablut. It sounds like it was written by a BK member but I don't know who?!

18. November 2004, 22:14:12
On You can play 'Corner' Tablut, also with computer. Visit it to understand capturing_in_corner rule : )

3. December 2004, 00:14:37
Emne: linnaeus' rule 11
I'm brand new here and already a question/comment : )
About capturing the king with only three attackers and the castle (rule linnaeus 11): as was pointed out earlier, why can't the king just pass the throne? I suggest it is because the throne can't be passed at all, by no person at all. Maybe the text of figure 1 "to which no other person can be admitted" was incorrectly interpreted as "no-one can occupy the throne, but can pass over it since it is not mentioned in rule 2." Maybe it should be interpreted as "no-one can occupy nor pass the throne." Then rule 11 would make more sense.
I don't know if this interpretation is plausible but it would influence the game a lot (more than accepting rule 10 for instance).
I'd like to hear some opinions about this...

3. December 2004, 20:50:25
Emne: Re: linnaeus' rule 11
I think rule 11 is there simply to prevent the king from forcing a draw by camping next to the central square. The text of fig.1 is pretty clear; I can't imagine the phrase "no [other] person can be admitted" being used to mean "no [other] person can pass", with or without the "other". As I don't have access to the original Swedish, nor the knowledge to understand it, I don't feel in a position to doubt Smith's translation.

3. December 2004, 23:10:48
Thanks for answering!
Hm, the Swedish original (or was it in Latin?) is indeed very important for this kind of interpretation...
But actually I think when we take the English version as the best we got, there still IS the ambiguity of "admitted" in the phrase "No other person can be admitted":
1) admitting stands for ending on the square, or:
2) admitting stands for being on the square, so when moving from e3 to e7 you must be admitted first to e4, then to e5, then to e6 and finally to e7 (in one move of course). When there is one square where the piece is not admitted, like when a piece is standing on e4, or because it's not admitted to e5 since it is the throne, you can't move from e3 to e7.

In the second interpretation a move looks more like "walking" and the first more like "jumping".
So to me the phrase still isn't clear at all.

Rule 2 doesn't help either it seems: does it mean 'you can't jump at all' or 'you can jump as much as you want but just not over the heads of any other piece'?

I can't solve the interpretation dillemma but to me the "walking" interpretation makes rule 11 less "ad hoc" and it would make the rules cleaner/more simple, because then it directly follows from rule 2 and the text of fig.1.
On the other hand, the second sentence of rule nr. 10 looks like the summum of an 'unclean' rule, so I admit it's not a decisive argument.
To me the "walking-not-jumping/passing"-interpretation would be strengthened when it would make the game more balanced, although again it would be circumstantial evidence.

4. December 2004, 00:05:37
Emne: Latin original?
By the way, I found an interesting reference today:

C. Linnaeus, Lachesis Lapponica, J. E. Smith, Ed., London 1811, ii., p. 55-58. This account is not complete, but only gives a translation of the first twelve entries. The complete original notes in Latin can be found in C. von Linné, Iter Lapponicum, Uppsala, 1913, p. 155-156. (Carl von Linné was born Linnaeus, but changed names to von Linné after he was raised to the peerage.)


In the library of my university they have both a latin and a swedish version:

Caroli Linnaei Iter Lapponicum dei gratia institutum, 1732
Iter Lapponicum : Lappländska resan 1732
I'll look up the latin version, since I can't read Swedish.

27. December 2004, 15:25:05
I have read Linneus Laponian journey in swedish. The original text is in swedish with lots of latin expressions. The notes were meant for a diary and not for publishing. However I found no mentioning of Tablut. Now, the version(s) I looked upon were incomplete, but there was a description of another game where you throw sticks.

28. December 2004, 13:32:19
Yes, I also found out that the books of the library I mentioned below are one and the same Swedish-with-Latin book, labelled incorrectly as two different versions in the catalogue. It's a later version than the 1913 version, and no mention of Tablut. The same for a german translation.
In Smith, the Tablut passage is just after the throwing sticks you mention.
The later Swedish version has omitted the Tablut passage entirely.
I wonder if the notes in Latin about Tablut which Smith omitted ARE present in the Swedish version of 1913. I have to order from another library to find out - I went to Amsterdam but it was lost (what kind of barbarian loses this kind of books???).
Or did you already found the 1913 version? That would imply Smith is the best we got.

31. December 2004, 12:57:50
When I get the time I will visit the Royal Library in Stockholm, where they keep all books ever published in swedish. They got to have the full version. Thanks to you, Fwiffo, I know where to look in the book. It's pretty boring to read - at least for the second time. :-)

18. Januar 2005, 17:29:23
Emne: Tablut notes in latin
Tilpasset af Fwiffo (19. December 2005, 00:40:57)
Yes! I found them in the 1913 version.
Here are the full notes in latin, I hope to translate them soon.

I put my own notes between {}.
The "?" between [] is from the editor, not from me.

Leges. {here is a note inserted: “Jfr. det till annat spel hörande, på nästa sida afbildade brädet.” I guess it means something like: these illustrations (of the pieces) belong to the game, just like the picture of the board on the next page.}

1. Alla få occupera et mutare loca per lineam rectam, non vero transversam, ut a ad c, non vero a ad e.

2. Nulli licitum sit locum per lineam rectam alium supersalire, occupare, ut a ad m, alio aliqvo in i constituto.

3. Si Rex occuparet locum b et nullus in e, i et m positus esset, possit exire, nisi mox muscovita aliqvod ex locis nominatis occupat, et Regi exitum praecludit.

4. Si Rex tali modo exit, est praelium finitum.

5. Si Rex in e collocaretur, nec ullus s. ejus, s. hostis miles esset in f g sive i m, tum aditus non potest claudi.

6. Ut Rex aditum apertum vidit, clamet Raicki, si duae viae apertae sunt tuicku.

7. Licitum est loca dissita occupare per lineam rectam, ut a c ad n, nullo intercludente.

8. Svecus et muscovita in gressibus alternant.

9. Si qvis hostem 1 inter 2 sibi hostes collocare possit, est occisus et ejici debet, etiam Rex.

10. Si Rex in arce 1 et hostes in 3bus ex N:r 2, tum abire potest per qvartum, et si ejus in 4to locum occupare potest, si ita cinctus et miles in 3 collocatur, est iter regem et militem qvi stat occisus. si qvatuor hostes in 2, tum rex captus est.

11. Si Rex in 2, tum hostes 3, sc. in a alfa {I couldn't import the right sign for alfa} et 3 erint, si capiatur.

12. Rege capto vel intercluso finitur bellum et victor retinet svecos, devictus muscovitas et ludus incipiatur.

13. Muscovitae sine rege erint, suntque 16 in 4 phalangibus disponendi.

14. Arx potest intercludere, aeque ac trio [?], ut si miles in 2 et hostis in 3 est, occidat.

{Here is a board inserted, which looks like this:

but with letters and numbers on the squares
a = d4
b = c4
c = b4
e = c3
i = c2
m = c1
f = b3
g = a3
n = b1
alfa = f4
1 = e5
2 = d5, e4, e6, f5
3 = c5, e3, e7, g5
4 = starting places black pieces}

1. Arx regia. Konokis Lappon., cui nullus succedere potest.
2 et 3. Sveci N:r 9 cum rege et eorum loca s. stationes.
4. Muscovitarum stationes, omnia in prima aggressione depicta.
O. Vacua loca occupare cuique licitum, etiam Regi, idem valet de locis characterisatis praeter arcem.

23. Januar 2005, 09:07:10
Thank you Fwiffo! I'm only a beginner in Latin, but I can make out some of the meaning. Rules 1 to 12 seem to correspond to the ones in English. Rules 13 seems to simply describe the layout of the muscovites, and I can't understand 14 at all yet, but I have a feeling that, like rule 13, it may have been excluded from the English edition simply because it duplicated information already given.

23. Januar 2005, 09:13:25
Effectively there is no rule stating that white can draw by continually attacking the edge, is that correct?

23. Januar 2005, 19:35:17
< Ughaibu> That is correct. There is no rule at all about draws or perpetual attack.
Just like nowhere is stated who begins (white or black) there is also no rule about perpetual "check". Which means we have to invent at least two rules.
I like the new rule at brainking which says that white begins, because black is principally reacting to white in Tablut. It fits well in the game.
I don't like the new rule at brainking which makes repetition of moves a draw. Because practically always it is only white who can force a draw, it is a big advantage for white, and it disrupts the game because it distracts black from its target (capture the king) into preventing a draw. It doesn't fit in the game at all, in my opinion.

I suggest the rule should be discarded and replaced by one of the following (or a better one of course!):

A) A threat that will lead to a sure victory may not be repeated more than twice. After that, the offensive side must make another move.

B) The first player who brings about exactly the same position of the pieces for the third time loses the game.

C) When exactly the same position occurs on the board for the third time, white loses the game.

23. Januar 2005, 19:42:46
Quite. The concept of draw is excluded in this case. I've pointed this out many times, there is no reason to accept repetitious attack as a draw. If necessary I'll investigate and provide analysis to demonstrate how the BrainKing rules detract from the game (sorry to sound like a certain psychotic). For the present, I'm concerned if there's a problem with archived games under these rules should there be a change.

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